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'OB Navigators' Help Worried Parents Through High Risk Pregnancies

DENVER (CBS4) - Pregnancy is an exciting time for expectant parents, but when you have a serious complications, anticipation quickly turns to trepidation.

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Now, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children (RMHC) has expanded a program that provides personalized support for high risk mothers and babies. Patient navigators work to take some of the worry out of the experience. Recently, John and Claire Sebesta welcomed the help.

"They'll leave the hospital around 36 weeks and 4 days," Claire told CBS 4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

They are Ruth Marie, the first born of the tiny, Sebesta identical twins and Elise Anne who followed one minute later. The babies were born eight weeks early, but are now thriving in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

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That's a huge relief for their parents, John and Claire.

"There's so many things that could have gone wrong that haven't and, so, it's just an overwhelming feeling of gratitude," explained Claire.

Claire was 11 weeks along when they learned she had what's called MoMo twins, monoamniotic monochorionic.

"There was certainly an element of fear," said John.

That's because the babies shared the same placenta and the same amniotic sac, but they had separate umbilical cords.

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"The cords could become entangled to the point that the babies will not get enough circulation and will eventually pass away," said Emily Johannes, OB Nurse Navigator for high risk pregnancies at RMHC.

"I am that one call for all of the resources that they'll need," she explained.

Emily was there for the Sebestas from the MoMo diagnosis.

"Helped us think of questions that we didn't think to ask," said John.

At 24 weeks, Claire was admitted to the hospital to be closely monitored. She was thankful for Emily.

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"That I had a friend around the corner," Claire said.

"... just a reassuring voice," said John.

The number of OB patient navigators at RMHC has expanded from three to eight. It's part of the hospital's dedication to the best possible outcome for high risk mothers and babies.

MoMo twins are rare, only about 1% of identical twin pregnancies.

The Sebestas are hoping their twins can go home this week.

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